- This article is about people from Pakistan as an ethnic identity and nation. For information on the population of Pakistan, see Demographics of Pakistan.
|187 million approx.
2.7% of the world's population
|Regions with significant populations|
|Pakistan: 187,000,000 (2011)|
|United Arab Emirates||1,100,000+|
|Urdu, Punjabi, Sindhi, Pashto, Balochi, Saraiki, Hindko, Potohari, Persian, Kashmiri, Brahui, Balti and others|
|Islam 97% (Sunni 85%, 15% being Shia) with Christian, Hindu, Sikh and Bahai minorities|
|Part of a series on the|
Pakistan Monument, Islamabad
Pakistani people (cultural phrase: Pakistanis; or People of Pakistan (Urdu: پاكِستانى قوم Pakistani Qaum) are the people who are citizens of the modern State of Pakistan. Pakistan's estimated population in 2011 is over 187 million making it the world's sixth most-populous country. The region of what is now today Pakistan was conquered by many different group of people such as Arabs, Afghans, Persians, Turks etc. throughout its history, thus leaving their imprint, their descendants in the society and culture. Pakistan is in essence a multi-ethnic and multilingual state, its people are predominantly Indo-European, mainly Indo-Aryan and Iranian both ethnically and linguistically.
Pakistan has one of the world's fastest growing populations. Being a land mass that is transitionally localed both in South Asia and Central Asia, the Pakistani people are a mixture of various ethnic groups. Furthermore, various ethnic groups, invading armies and the migrations to the region by people passing through on their way to and from India have left their imprint on the population.
Pakistani people belong predominantly to seven ethno-linguistic groups: Punjabis, Sindhis, Seraikis, Pashtuns, Mohajirs, Balochs, and Kashmiris,Ranghar, with smaller numbers of Brahuis, Hindkowans, Chitralis and other small, minority ethnic groups in the remote north of the country.
In the west, the Pashtun people are an indigenous Eastern Iranian group who have been settled the western banks of the Indus and are believed to have originated from the Sulaiman Mountains of Pakistan. The Baloch people are a western Iranian ethnic group who inhabit the southwest of the country and are believed[by whom?] to be settlers from far off Aleppo (in modern day Syria) who arrived to the region and assimilated into the local peoples and gave their name to the province of Balochistan. The Punjabi people, an Indo-Aryan people and the largest ethnic group, reside in the northeast and have been the primary inhabitants of the historical Punjab region which derives its name from the Persian Panj meaning five (5) and Ab meaning water(s); hence the land of five rivers or Panj-Ab. The Sindhi people, another Indo-Aryan people, on the other hand have been settled in the southeast of the country and gave their name to the mighty Indus/Sindhu river, while regional groups such as the Seraiki people have inhabited the regions between Punjab and Sindh. Groups in the west of the country share cultural ties with ethnic groups in Eastern Iran and Eastern Afghanistan, and Central Asia regions. The Kashmiri people are an important ethnic group of the Kashmir region in the north. There are other important indigenous people like the Balti, Hunzakots, and Gilgiti people(s) of the northern territories of Gilgit through whose territory ran the ancient Silk Route connecting Asia and Europe. The Chitrali people are another indigenous people who live high in the mountains in the northwest. Along with these main groups, there are smaller communities of Sheedi's who are descendants of African sailors and warriors who are believed to have arrived from the horn of Africa as well as Muhajir people who came as refugees from India when Pakistan attained its independence from Britain in 1947. There are countless other ethnic groups that make up part of Pakistani's mosaic such as the Bengalis, Burmese, Hazara, Tajik, Persian, Arab and Hakka; the last are an ethnic group that traces its origin to China.
Pakistan has a heterogeneous culture, with all of the provinces maintaining differing social mores. However, Islam is the driving force behind the unity of varying ethnic groups from different parts of the country, and has significantly shaped the values and traditions of Pakistanis.
In Pakistan Urdu is mostly learned as a second or a third language as nearly 93% of Pakistan's population has a mother tongue other than Urdu. Despite this, Urdu was chosen as a token of unity and as a lingua franca so as not to give any native Pakistani language preference over the other. Urdu is therefore spoken and understood by the vast majority in some form or another. Urdu is the national language of Pakistan and spoken as a first, second or at times third tongue by almost all Pakistani people; although there are numerous regional and provincial languages which are spoken as first languages by the ethno-linguistic groups making up the country. English is spoken at an official level and is a legacy of the long British Raj colonial rule in the region. Although English is used in most elite circles, and Punjabi has a plurality of native speakers with 45% of the total population.
Many Pakistanis worldwide speak the various regional languages of Pakistan such as: Urdu, Saraiki, Punjabi, Sindhi, Pashto, Balochi, Kashmiri, and Persian. Overseas Pakistanis also speak many of the national languages of the country such as: English, Norwegian, German, Japanese, French, Swedish, Arabic, Dutch, etc.
There are large populations of Pakistani ancestry around the world, due to emigration. The population of Pakistanis abroad is considered to exceed seven million and can be found in the Middle East, North America, Europe, Asia and Australia.
- Starr, L.A. Frontier Folk of the Afghan Border—and Beyond. London: Church Missionary Society (1920).
- http://islamabad.usembassy.gov/pr-10061601.html US Embassy Report
- "Ethnic Origin (264), Single and Multiple Ethnic Origin Responses (3), Generation Status (4), Age Groups (10) and Sex (3) for the Population in Private Households of Canada, Provinces, Territories, Census Metropolitan Areas and Census Agglomerations, 2011 National Household Survey".
- Information on other countries: http://hdr.undp.org/en/media/HDR_20072008_EN_Complete.pdf
- Piazza, L. Luca Cavalli-Sforza, Paolo Menozzi, Alberto (1994). The history and geography of human genes (google books). Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press. p. 242. ISBN 0-691-08750-4.
- Also see: British heritage of Pakistan
- Pakistani people